Funga wants to highlight the Beckley Foundation in this edition because Amanda Feilding has been introduced as the Key Player this month, and the Beckley Retreats is the first edition of the Directory.

The Beckley Foundation, a non-profit NGO started in 1988 by Amanda Feilding (aka the Queen of Psychedelics), has been at the forefront of global drug policy reform and scientific research into psychoactive substances since its creation. They collaborate with leading scientific and political institutions worldwide to design and develop ground-breaking research and global policy initiatives. (text taken from here


Amanda felt a vocation to understand how psychoactive compounds can enhance human consciousness. At the center of this was the search for the mystical experience and a better understanding of how cognition and sensibility to music, beauty, emotion, and nature could be increased through these compounds. The main driving force for Amanda Feilding, is to make these substances available to other people and get doctors and scientists to research this further.

She started by asking Albert Hoffmann to be on the advisory board of the Beckley Foundation and then moved on to the establishment, which at the time was a top English scientist called Colin Blakemore. Several other eminent scientists, including David Nutt, followed and joined Amanda’s advisory board.

After that, Amanda decided to do a think tank about drug policy and how wrong it is that psychedelics and cannabis are put in the same bag as all other drugs, even though they are entirely different. That started her move into the policy game. She continued giving seminars about this topic at the House of Lords. She soon realized that even the scientists willing to collaborate on this would be quickly found out and punished. Cannabis, because so much of the population was using it, was an easier substance to start with because the taboo was much lighter on it. For the first four years of the Beckley Foundation, Amanda and Dave Nutt focused on that rather than psychedelics. After Dave moved to Imperial, they started the Beckley Imperial Psychedelic Research Program leaving out the word psychedelic. That is where the interesting work started. Robin Carhart-Harris, who came to Amanda and she, in turn, connected with Dave Nutt, was employed as their principal investigator at the research program at Imperial. Together they found that psychedelics decreased the Default Mode Network, which can be understood as the quietening of the ego.


Further important milestones of the Beckley Foundation:

    • 1998 – Study on psychedelics and cerebral circulation
    • 2007 – First Ethics Committee approval of LSD study since prohibition
    • 2009 – Beckley-Imperial Psychedelic Research Program
    • 2011 – Global public letter for Drug Policy Reform
    • 2012 – First ever brain imaging study on psilocybin
    • 2014 – First ever brain imaging study on LSD
    • 2014 – Psilocybin Tobacco Addiction Study
    • 2016 – Psilocybin Treatment Resistant Depression
    • 2017 – Ayahuasca Neurogenesis study
    • 2018 – LSD Microdosing study


A big current focus for Amanda is using psychedelic compounds for palliative care since they enhance mood, cognition, vitality, and pain management. She proposes increasing a study looking to strengthen end-of-life care through macro dosing LSD because Amanda is keen to look at it as a cognitive restorer for aging cognitive decline. A collaboration has been set up in Brazil with universities that work with mini-brains, which are created from human stem cells. Looking at those, they noticed that LSD increased cognitive functioning, followed by an experiment on rats. When adult rats were given some LSD, they would start playing with toys they had previously not been interested in.

Amanda believes that many exciting things are opening up, not just psychological healing but also physiological healing in treating neurodegenerative illnesses. “What is rather wonderful is that, in a sense, modern science killed off the spiritual world, and that became a dead thing which in a way helped mankind to be more lost and more thrown into the digital world without a soul. What is so fascinating is this new opening that we are finding with psychedelic-assisted therapy to heal human depression and addiction. All of these psychologically based illnesses at the center seem to be the mystical experience. That seems to bring about the neuroplasticity in which a person can change. Change their outlook, change their behavior on a very deep level. Science has brought to life, in a sense, the mystical experience. It is a completing circle.” – Amanda Feilding 


I highly recommend watching Amanda Feilding giving a lecture. Funga chose this particular one because she pulls you in with her charm and sense of humour.

Horizons 2017: AMANDA FEILDING “From The Mystical Experience to Microdosing”